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The good thing about staying at a Holden Beach vacation rental is that you’ll have some of the comforts of home while on your vacation. From a stocked kitchen to comfy beds, PROACTIVE Vacations homes are your home away from home at Holden Beach, but what about things you will need to pack from home? Here is a quick cheat sheet on the top 5 things you might not think to pack when coming to visit.

1. Chargers & Adapters

While it seems like a given, be sure to pack all the chargers and adapters for your electronics – cell phones, tablets, laptops, game systems and the like. There’s nothing worse than watching the power drain on your device while frantically hunting for the charger that is 200 miles away at home. It’s a good idea to pack a couple of portable chargers as well – they come in handy when on the beach or out sight seeing.

2. Spices & Condiments

While you can pick up most everything you need from the local stores, it might make sense to pack frequently used spices and bring them with you. That way you aren’t rebuying a ton of expensive spices just to cook with for a week and have to haul back home.

3. Safety Gates

If you have little ones, they’ll want to explore their new surroundings in a vacation rental. Pack a portable safety gate to keep them safe away from stairs, both inside and while enjoying outdoor deck areas.

4. Towels

While you can rent bath towels locally to prevent having to pack them, it’s still a good idea to pack beach towels for the beach and pool. They get more sandy and wet than you would think, so plan for a least a couple per person for the time you’re here.

5. Paper Products & Plastic Bags

Again, you can pick these up locally, but it’s a good idea to pack at least one roll of toilet paper and a roll of paper towels to hold you over until you are able to make a trip to the store. And zip-loc bags will be used more than you think – from organizing items in your suitcase, to dividing up snacks and packing a cooler for the beach.

 

Only you truly know what you’ll need to be comfortable while on your vacation, and your packing list may be a mile long, or a minimal as a change of clothes and a toothbrush. But, no matter how you pack, you’re sure to have a great vacation with a rental from PROACTIVE Vacations!

VRBO, Airbnb and other vacation rental booking sites can be great. They offer a huge selection of inventory for places around the world, with numerous filters so you can find your dream vacation rental. But there are many advantages to booking directly with a local property management company. Here’s why you should book direct for your next Holden Beach vacation.

Book Direct & Save Money

All third party sites charge additional fees for booking a vacation rental through them. When you book direct with PROACTIVE Vacations, you avoid these fees. When looking at one of our homes, “The Salty Cloud” for a 7 night stay (9/10/2022 – 9/17/2022), the total with VRBO  is $3,178.54 while PROACTIVE Vacations total is $2,893.54 for a difference of $285 in fees. $285 would go a long way towards more fun during your vacation!

Personal Service

When you book direct with PROACTIVE Vacations, you always have the option of contacting us directly by phone or email. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have before, during or after booking. We can provide suggestions for homes that meet your needs and because we manage the homes – we know the homes and which ones might be best for what you’re looking for.

We Know Holden Beach

We’re not a company that’s hundreds of miles away – we live and work in Holden Beach and are dedicated to helping our guests have great vacations. Need a restaurant recommendation? Want suggestions for activities? We live here – we can help!

We’re Here

While we hope your vacation is perfect – the reality is that sometimes something goes wrong. A/Cs go out, coffee pots stop working, washing machines stop spinning….when this happens, we’re right here, with full time maintenance staff, and contacts at local providers, to get the issues resolved as soon as possible.

PROACTIVE Vacations is locally owned and operated – our President is a Varnamtown native and we’re invested in the Holden Beach area. By supporting a local company, you can rest assured that your vacation dollars go right back into the local economy supporting the beach that we all love!

Part of the appeal of renting a vacation home is the ability to cook meals rather than going out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But what if you want to try some of the local flavors without heading out? We’ve gathered a few of our favorite North Carolina recipes for you to use on your next beach trip. There’s not much better than the local flavors after a long day at the beach!

Low Country Boil

Shrimp, Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Sausage AND easy clean-up? It’s easy to see why this recipe is a local favorite. Skip the plates and serve on a paper covered outdoor table for an authentic experience!

(Click for Printable Version)

Shrimp Salad

Perfect for lunch or a light dinner – especially on those too hot to cook days!

(Click for printable version)

 

Grilled Cheese & Crab

Another great sandwich recipe – perfect for dinner with a salad or roasted corn on the cob.

(Click for printable version)

 

Shrimp & Cheddar Grits

It doesn’t get more southern than grits – add in some fresh shrimp and you’ve got the perfect Coastal North Carolina meal!

(Click for printable version)

 

Holden Beach Vacation Planning

Next time you’re in Holden Beach, you can rest assured that your PROACTIVE Vacations rental home will have a kitchen well equipped to cook any of these North Carolina recipes and any others you may plan. Rather you’re in an ocean front condo or a ICW home – there’s no place quite like Holden Beach!

If you come to Holden Beach and head east on Ocean Boulevard, you’ll soon pass Rangers Street, Elizabeth Street and Bendigo Street on the right. While they may seem like any other streets, their names are tied to the unique story of the island of Holden Beach and the Civil War. Lets take a walk through Holden Beach history.

Elizabeth, Bendigo, and USS Iron Age

In September 1863, the Confederate blockade runner Elizabeth, a 216 foot, 623 ton sidewheel steamer, headed to the Wilmington port with a load of steel and salt peter, ran aground just off of Holden Beach in the Lockwood Folly Inlet. The crew then set fire to Elizabeth to avoid capture by the Union Army.

In January 1864, the Confederate blockade runner Bendigo, a 178 ton, 162 foot iron-hulled paddle wheeler,  returning from Nassau with supplies for the Confederacy, saw the wreck of Elizabeth and thought it to be a Union warship. Bendigo attempted to pass at full speed between the wreckage and the shore. In the attempt, Bendigo ran aground. The captain of Bendigo recruited the help of the locals on Holden Beach and was able to salvage the supplies of the vessel. The captain then set fire to Bendigo and abandoned ship on January 4, 1864.

Days later, the Union sent the USS Iron Age, a 424 ton, 144 foot wood-screw steamer, and USS Daylight to the inlet to attempt to remove Bendigo, but Iron Age was grounded on January 10, 1864 while attempting to remove the wreckage. After efforts to lighten the load and float USS Iron Age failed it was set on fire causing the magazine to explode.

Legend has it, as Holden Beach locals attempted to salvage anything of value from the USS Iron Age, Neil Holden, a Confederate soldier and descendant of the Holden Beach namesake, found a razor in the captain’s cabin. This razor is said to have remained within the Holden family since the Civil War.

Blockade Runner Ranger

Just one day later, on January 11, 1864, the Confederate blockade runner Ranger, a 400 ton iron-hulled sidewheel steamer, was traveling from Murrell’s Inlet to Wilmington and was spotted by Union ships. Ranger was beached one mile west of the Lockwood Folly Inlet on Holden Beach and destroyed by fire. It’s unknown what, if any, supplies were recovered.

Civil War Era Ship Wrecks Today

All of these ship wrecks are now listed in the National Register as part of an archeological district. The remains of Bendigo are still visible at low tide if you head to the east end of the island and look out towards Oak Island over the Lockwood Folly Inlet. The wreckage is marked with an orange navigation warning buoy. The ship is easily reached during low tide by swimming, but the wreck is extensively covered in fishing hooks and gear that may present potential hazards.

The next time you’re in town enjoying Holden Beach history, enjoying one of PROACTIVE Vacations great vacation rentals, be sure to check out it’s remains!

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a dip in the ocean on a warm summer day. Studies have found that both sea air and ocean water can have positive effects on our moods and our health. The natural minerals found in our oceans are great for our skin. But with all of these benefits of a day at the beach, there are some dangers as well. It’s important to be vigilant and aware of the dangers of the ocean so you can enjoy your day at the beach. Learn all about water safety in Holden Beach below.

Ocean Swimming Basics

The ocean is an unpredictable environment. You need much stronger swimming skills for the ocean than for a pool. Never swim alone even if you are an experienced swimmer. Three things you must know before entering the ocean:

Be Aware of Hazards

Swimming in the ocean requires a bit more skill than swimming in a pool or lake. Be aware of the potential hazards before entering the water.

Children & The Ocean

Children require constant attention while near the ocean. Accidents can happen quickly and often before you even realize there is a problem.

While this may seem like a lot, you can never be too careful on the beach. A bit of preparation and knowledge can ensure that your next day at the beach is a safe, happy one!

If you are staying at one of PROACTIVE Vacation’s rentals you’ll have plenty of parking at your rental, however, if you choose to drive elsewhere on the island, the Town of Holden Beach has implemented paid parking as of May 1, 2022 from 9 am to 5 pm daily.

When is Paid Parking In Effect?

Paid parking in Holden Beach is in effect from 9 am to 5 pm daily. In 2022, paid parking will run from May 1 to October 31. In 2023, paid parking will run from April 1 to October 31.

Where Do I Have to Pay To Park?

All public parking areas in Holden Beach are now pay to park. Per ordinance, there is no parking on the streets or rights-of-way except in designated parking spaces identified by Pay-to-Park signs. Parking at the area parks remains free while you are using the park. Click here for an interactive map from the Town of Holden Beach showing all parking areas. 

What Are the Holden Beach Parking Rates?

Parking violations are $50. After 30 days, a $25 late fee will be applied to unpaid citations. After 60 days, citations will be referred to a collection agency

How Do I Pay To Park?

There are 3 ways to pay for parking:

  1. Download the “SurfCAST by Otto” app, setup your account, register your vehicle, and pay for parking
  2. Scan the QR code on the parking signs to link to a Secure website. Follow the prompts to pay for parking or use the Secure website: https://surfcast.ottoconnect.us/pay
  3. Call the Otto Connect team at 910-200-1497.  You will need to provide your email, phone number, license plate/tag number, state of registration, and a Credit or Debit card

If you have questions or need further information about paid parking, visit the Paid Parking page on the Holden Beach Town Hall website.

While we hope your vacation is filled with sunshine and blue skies, unfortunately, hurricanes are a fact of life at the coast. Whether you’re a resident, homeowner or a guest, below are a few hurricane safety tips to help you prepare if a storm makes it’s way to Holden Beach.

When is Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season in Holden Beach is officially from June 1st to November 30th.  Storms during hurricane season can range from tropical depression up to a category 5 hurricane. So what does that mean? Below is a chart showing the different levels of storms.

Type of StormSustained Wind SpeedsDamage Potential
Tropical DepressionUp to 39 mphHeavy rains and strong winds can cause minor flooding and property damage. Some power outages dues to downed trees and branches. Rough seas and rip tides.
Tropical Storm39 - 73 mphDangerous winds can cause damages to singles and siding. Unfastened home items of light to moderate weight will become airborne, causing additional damage and possible injury. Power outages will affect entire neighborhoods, especially in areas with numerous downed trees and power lines.
Category 1 Hurricane74 - 95 mphVery dangerous winds will produce some damage: Homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.
Category 2 Hurricane96 - 110 mphExtremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.
Category 3 Hurricane111 - 129 mphDevastating damage will occur: Homes may incur major damage or removal of decks and roofing. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.
Category 4 Hurricane130 - 156 mphCatastrophic damage will occur: Homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Category 5 Hurricane157 mph or higherCatastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

What Should I Do If A Hurricane is Expected?

There are two different types of storm notifications: a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible in the area. They are generally  issued 48 hours prior to expected storm arrival. A Hurricane Warning means a hurricane is expected in the affected area and is usually issued 36 hours prior to the storm arrival.

GUESTS: Purchasing travel insurance is highly recommended when booking your reservation any time of the year, but is especially important during the hurricane season.

Plan your Route

Plan your evacuation route before the storm hits and plan to have several routes in case of road closures. Before you leave, make sure you have all of your belongings, necessary medications, gas, etc. When the storm passes, we will update you as to when you are able to return to your vacation rental and enjoy the remainder of your vacation.

Prepare a Kit

Prepare a kit before you think you will need it. Waiting until the last minute may make it impossible to purchase the items you need as stores will likely be out of stock on essentials. Your kit should include at the very least: flashlight(s), batteries, cash, and first aid supplies. You can find more information on hurricane kits here.

Stay Informed

Whenever a hurricane threatens the Holden Beach area, PROACTIVE Vacations keeps all guests and homeowners updated as to status of the storm and the status of any evacuation orders. It’s also important to stay informed of the weather via local media.

If You Can Not Evacuate

As a resident, if the storm is coming and you absolutely can not evacuate, stay indoors. It is best to shelter in place in an interior room and away from doors or windows.  Make sure you have your hurricane kit available, as well as plenty of bottled water and non-perishable food. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged in the event there is a power outage.

For more hurricane safety information, visit:

National Hurricane Center – Track and get up-to-date information on storms.

Ready.gov – Find helpful information to prepare you for a storm.

Weather.gov – Hurricane Safety Tips

PROACTIVE Vacations takes your safety as one of our top priorities and we encourage you to be prepared, plan ahead and stay safe this hurricane season.

As summer kicks into high gear and inventory with local rental companies is becoming booked, it may be tempting to look elsewhere for your Holden Beach vacation rental. Picture this: you find the nearly perfect vacation rental that is available the week you want to vacation. You exchange a few emails with the owner and agree to the terms of the rental. You give them your credit card information or pay an invoice online and get set to start packing for you trip. But then you don’t hear from the owner with any information on how to get into the home and don’t have a way to contact them other than email – which, of course, they aren’t responding to. Or worse yet, you get to Holden Beach all set for a week of fun, and find out that the house is already rented or doesn’t exist at all!

Unfortunately, vacation rental scams are on the rise. But there are a few ways you can protect yourself, your hard earned money, and your vacation.

Verify The Host

Make sure you are dealing with a real company or a person with an actual house for rent. The best way to do this is to rent from a reputable, long standing rental company that is local to the area you are vacationing in. (Like PROACTIVE Vacations!)

If you are looking at third party booking sites such as VRBO, check the reviews. Be cautious of any listing that doesn’t have any reviews or properties with reviews that all say the same things or repeat the same phrases.

Double Check the Property Specifics

Be cautious of properties that seem too good to be true. While we all look for a bargain, you’ll rarely (if ever!) find an oceanfront 6 bedroom home for $500 a week for the week of July 4th. If it seems too good to be true, you will definitely want to research before handing over payment.

Double check the photos as well. Take a close look at the photos and make sure they fit with the area you’re vacationing in. Heading to Holden Beach? The photo of the house on the cliff overlooking the ocean is most definitely a scam. Also, check to make sure the photos are consistent. A massive, luxurious kitchen photo with a listing for a 2 bedroom 1 bath condo can be enough to raise a red flag.

Be Cautious With Payments

While you may call a rental company and give them your credit card details by phone for a rental, be wary of doing this with individuals. If possible, pay only through verified websites and use a major credit card that offers protection against scams.

Never pay for a vacation rental through a wire service such as Western Union, Venmo, CashApp or others. These services are not traceable and offer no recourse if something goes wrong.

Know Your Rights

Finally, know your rights for vacation rentals. By North Carolina law, if you are charged a security deposit, it must be returned or an itemized statement of withholding must be provided within 45 days of the end of your tenancy. In addition, it is illegal for a host to refuse to rent based on your race, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, disability or marital status.

With a little bit of due diligence, you can rest assured that your Holden Beach vacation rental will be great and your vacation is a stress-free, relaxing time. Reach out to PROACTIVE Vacations to start planning your next vacation today!

You’ve enjoyed a week of sand, surf and sun at Holden Beach and are ready to head back home. What to do with all of the left over food? Why not donate it to A Second Helping?

A Second Helping

A Second Helping is a volunteer organization that collects food and other items from vacationers as they leave Holden Beach. Food items are then distributed to the needy in our area of Brunswick County through Loaves & Fishes food pantry at Brunswick Islands Baptist Church. Non-food items, including paper products, cleaning supplies, laundry supplies, linens, etc. are distributed to Brunswick Christian Recovery Center, a residential Christian rehabilitation center for those struggling with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. ​ 

Donating

Donating could not be easier. Every Saturday from June 6th through September 10th, A Second Helping volunteers are set up in the Beach Mart parking lot from 7am to noon.  Swing through the drive through donation area in the parking lot on the right side of the causeway as you’re leaving the island and a volunteer will grab your donations.

Monetary donations are welcomed as well. They can be given to any volunteer or mailed to:

A Second Helping
ATTN: Douglas Cottrell
2939 Alan Trail SW
Supply, NC 28462

Impact

In 2021, A Second Helping received 16,250 pounds of donations and $2,250 in cash donations. These amazing numbers add up to a lot of help for our community. The next time you’re in Holden Beach at one of PROACTIVE Vacation’s great rentals, stop by A Second Helping on your way out of town and give back to the community that we all love.